The Campbell Prediction System Book

A Wildland Fire Predictions System and Language

Third Edition May 2005
by Doug Campbell

Have you ever wondered how some older, experienced firefighters know when the fire is about to change and endanger personnel?  Would you like to understand wildland fire and be able explain how you know in advance what it will do? If you do, then this bookis for you.


Is Wildland Fire Behavior Really Predictable?

"Can wild land forest fire behavior really be predicted? That depends on how accurate you expect the answer to be. Minute by minute, movement of a fire will probably never be predictable, certainly not from weather conditions forecasted many hours before the fire." So says the introduction in the publication by Richard C. Rothermel in his book How to Predict the Spread and Intensity of Forest and Range Fires dated June, 1983.

In an article written by Carl C. Wilson, research forester for the U.S. Forest Service, titled Fatal and Near-Fatal Forest Fires, The Common Denominators, under "Surprising Factors" he notes:

Many firefighters are surprised to learn that fatal and near-fatal incidents occur in fairly light fuels, on small fires or isolated sectors of large fires, and that behavior is relatively quiet just before the incident.

The Campbell Prediction System (CPS) is about making those predictions of fire behavior changes that may occur at any time, and doing it while on the fire line. You may surprised how simply it can be accomplished. Some seasoned firefighters used some of these same techniques, but without a language they could not communicate their ideas or teach others.

I have utilized this predication system many years on the fire line. In order that I might teach others how to make fire line behavior predictions, I have developed tools and created diagrams to illustrated the technical points and I have written a fire behavior language.

Now it's possible for you to learn these valuable lessons and the simple language used to communicate fire behavior predictions on wild land fires.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 - Learning the Ropes
Chapter 2 - Some Common Perceptions Held by Firefighters
Chapter 3 - Pertinent Facts from the Fire Weather Handbook
Chapter 4 - Practical Application of Countryman's Research
Chapter 5 - Wild Land Fire Behavior Prediction Using the Flammability Card
Chapter 6 - A Fire Behavior Language
Chapter 7 - Now What Do I Do?
Chapter 8 - Don't Bother Me Now
Chapter 9 - New Tools
Chapter 10 - The Fayette Incident
Chapter 11 - Color It Yellow

The Campbell Prediction System book is 142 pages of useful and tested information.